In 2019, the fishery sector grew by 5.81%, or increasing by 0.61% if compared to the 2018’s, in line with the increasing in consumption and export value of the commodities. Fish-catching regulation toward foreign investment in the national marine territory is expected to bring the country’s marine resource management back to Indonesian people.

The regulation will not bring negative effect to the national income. It will only reduce the volume of fishes caught by the foreign ships, while increasing the volume of fishes caught by the local ships. In another word, the regulation will be quite positive and accommodating for the local fishery communities. Through the regulation, the national marine fishery production, particularly tuna, mackerel and skipjack is also increasing. Based on data from Fishstat 2019, Indonesia became the world’s No. 1 tuna producing country, with total production increasing from 1,178,173 tons in 2012 to 1,342,601 tons in 2017.

According to the Coordinating Minister of National Development/Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional (PPN/Bappenas),  the national marine and fishery sector is targeted to contribute USD 160 billion or about IDR 2,240 trillion (1 USD=IDR 14,000) into the national gross domestic products (GDP) within the next five years. To meet the target, however, Indonesia should rearrange the existing fish-auction places and have international-scale fish market.

At present time, related to the spread of corona pandemic, according to fishery observers, the government needs to be more intensive in socializing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic onto the national fishery sector. The national fishery players are expected to have a better technique in handling the fish catching or pond harvesting, which eventually can improve quality of the commodities and increase the country’s foreign exchange in the future.

A fact that Covid-19 started in China makes difficult for this largest exporter country to export fishery products to international market. In another side, this can be advantages for other countries, including Indonesia, to export their fishery products or other commodities.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Marine and Fishery, there has been an increase in application of export certification for fish and marine products to some countries.  It is as indicated from the increasing volume of export of fishery commodities from Indonesia to several countries in period of January- March 12, 2020, if compared to the same period of 2019.

During the period, export volume to the USA increased to 44,748.98 tons from 36,686.99 tons. Export to Thailand increased to 27,264.73 tons, from 11,372.78 tons, and export to Malaysia increased to 15,883.49 tons from 13,008.65 tons. Meanwhile export to Taiwan increased to 7,823.77 tons, from 7,173.04 tons. The export to Vietnam also increased to 8,105.75 tons from 7,955.40 tons, to Singapore increased to 6,820.87 tons from 5,883.99 tons, to South Korea increased to 5,964.08 tons from 4,320.34 tons, and export to Saudi Arab increased to 3,908.85 tons from 3,358.19 tons. These figures definitely show that the national fishery sector remains maximal, although Indonesia is disturbed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The exported commodities are, among other, vaname shrimps (increasing by 2,000 tons to 36,000 tons in period of January-March 12, from only some 28,000 tons in the same period of 2019), tuna (increasing by 3,000 tons to 19,000 tons, from 16,000 tons), cakalang fish (increasing by 1,000 tons to 19,000 tons, from 18,000 tons), layur fish (increasing to 9,000 tons, from 5,000 tons), and makarel (increasing to 9,000 tons, from 1,000 tons).

These all figures also indicate that in term of the export volume, the national fishery sector is still quite promising.

In another side, unfortunately, the current social distancing protocol applied by the government has caused a decrease in income earned by the local fishermen.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘national fishermen day’ on April 6, 2020 becomes no longer a big day for the fishermen, as they have to face drastic drop of their daily income. At the same time, the fishermen must also face a reality that the draft of Omnibus Law on Job Creation, Taxation and Empowerment is already decided to be a part of the national legislation program (Prolegnas)-2020 by the National Parliament (DPR-RI) during the 2019-2020 third meeting season on Thursday (2/4/2020). During the meeting, the Parliament read the Letter of President of RI (Surpres) on RUU Omnibus Law.

So far, actually, there are pros-cons on the draft of Omnibus Law. According to Sekretaris Jenderal Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan (KIARA), it is not the right time to put the RUU Omnibus Law in discussion, because today Indonesian people are facing threats from the COVID-19 outbreak.